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Eleanor: A Novel Hardcover – January 12, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“Th[e] violent rift between past and present affords each woman the chance to offer her own kind of repentance and forgiveness and redemption. In the end, “Eleanor” shows that one never knows what can happen when the reset button is pushed.”
“Eleanor is deep — a really poignant, moving story that will surprise you with how smart it is. The novel turns a traditional tragic narrative on its head with compelling elements of science fiction and fantasy. It’s a touching story that sneaks up on you, working on multiple levels that pay off in a series of emotional uppercuts in the final pages. Read it and weep.”
–Daniel H. Wilson, bestselling author of Robopocalypse
“Jason Gurley will be a household name one day.”
–Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of Wool
“A virtuoso performance… Eleanor might just be the book of the year.”
–Russell Blake, bestselling author of Jet
“Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman... enchanting, magical and powerful.”
—Ernie Lindsey, bestselling author of Skynoise
“Jason Gurley’s Eleanor is an ambitious book of many wonders, an intricately crafted saga spanning three generations, by turns otherworldly and heartbreakingly true.”
—Elizabeth Collison, author of Some Other Town
“Haunting...if you liked The Ocean at the End of the Lane, you'll love Eleanor.”
—Peter Cawdron, author of Feedback
“Jason Gurley is the kind of storyteller that makes you excited to sit down and spend a day reading.”
—Ted Kosmatka, author of Prophet of Bones
About the Author
JASON GURLEY is the author of Greatfall, The Man Who Ended the World, and the fiction collection Deep Breath Hold Tight, among other works. His stories have appeared in the anthologies Loosed Upon the World and Help Fund My Robot Army!!! He was raised in Alaska and Texas, and now lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.
Top customer reviews
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This book, Eleanor by Jason Gurley, is not that kind of book. Not that it doesn’t make you think. I had a lot of thoughts while I read this book. I thought about the similarities between it and two other books I’ve read. One was fairly recent – Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane, while the other I read when I was just a child – Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Both had a profound influence on me, but all three of these books didn’t so much make me think.
They made me feel.
When I first began reading Eleanor, I was struck by the pictures Mr. Gurley paints for his readers. Spending a little time in Oregon and on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, I could readily accept the fog-shrouded town and seaside he presented as real. He worked so hard to place his story in the real world that when the supernatural world opens up later in the book, it feels natural. It feels like an extension of the world Gurley has created and it feels better than the world in which his characters reside.
I’ve followed Jason’s journey of writing this book for the past year (although he’s been writing it for the past 13 years) and I can feel the passion he had for it in every word I encountered. I saw the care he put into it and the work he put in to make it just right.
How to describe this book? I’m not really sure. I literally finished less than five minutes after starting to write this review, so my thoughts are still swirling like the water in a tide pool off the shore of a small island near the beach in Oregon. I felt for the characters that Mr. Gurley painstakingly presented to the readers. How in just the first few pages, we were introduced to Hob, Eleanor and their daughter Agnes. I was getting settled in for a book about this Eleanor, until Gurley ripped the rug out from underneath me and I realized this was not really the titular character – she was still to be discovered.
Discovered is really a great word for this book. Eleanor discovers so much in her journeys throughout this book. You see the younger Eleanor taking care of her family as best she knows how, but then through other means, we see there are better ways she can take care of her family. She discovers who she is, who her parents really are, and her true purpose.
This needs to be discovered. I could call Jason Gurley the American Neil Gaiman and I don’t think many people would argue after reading this book. It is a phenomenal book and one I could not put down. Well done, Mr. Gurley.
Because the genre and plot of Elanor defies being pigeonholed by the suits in the marketing department of some New York publisher, it makes sense that this one had to be self-published. I have no doubt that Elanor will be snatched up somewhere along the way. Just like John Grisham's, A Time to Kill, and Ronald Balson's, Once We Were Brothers, Gurley has written something far to enduring and powerful to be ignored.
Unlike most reviews I write, I haven't said much about the plot - and for good reason. To shamelessly borrow a cliché, this one defies description. Gurley gladly acknowledges much of what he writes has been called "weepy sci-fi". However, if you avoid Elanor either because you don't like time-travel stories or anything that smacks of romance you will surely miss out on one of the most mesmerizing reads in a while.
Elanor is not a book you can hurry through. It is filled with mad rushes for answers, life-changing road blocks, and dark nights filled with hopes of a new dawn. At its core, Gurley offers a story that every reader has lived or sought to forget in one way or another.
This author writes outside of the box much like Dean Koontz did in his recent Innocence and The City. The two writers have much in common - they write powerful prose and create memorable characters. Koontz wrote in his early years under a number of pen names before 400 million copies in print ensured it doesn't matter how hard it is to classify his latest work.
It is more than refreshing to see a relatively new writer like Gurley skip the middle man and go straight to bold and creative before some acquisition editor condemned something as creative as Elanor to the slush pile.
ELEANOR is a story that Gurley says took him 13 years to write. Finely crafted and well thought out, it is easy to see that he took his time to polish his story and has taken his writing to a place previously unseen. This is his masterpiece and with it he may very well find himself in the league of today's current master authors.
It's difficult to write about the novel without giving too much away, but ELEANOR primarily centers around a young girl with the title name who finds herself in a horrible place because of poor generational choices made by others. Life is hard and unfair for her but through a series of extraordinary events she resolves to set things right. A wonderful mixture of sci-fi and fantasy ensues, but it is the emotional depth of his character development that sets this novel apart. When we read about Eleanor's deep hurt and the scars that mark her psyche we can understand it because Gurley has carefully woven the story so we can see why, so we can relate. He gives just enough of Eleanor to get it, but not so much of her that it becomes burdensome to read through it.
Gurley's writing shows depth, maturity and understanding. Thirteen years of working out the details has paid off in a work that will last a lot longer than the time he invested in getting it to us. I loved the story, characters and the way he ties the multiple story lines together at the end. I didn't want it to end, and perhaps that's the best compliment I can pay the author.
Most recent customer reviews
At first I wanted to walk away because it was so sad, but stick with it. It will surprise you